Allie Concannon is one of those tall, svelte New York City downtown girls that you see strolling down the street, very nonchalantly, perhaps somewhat unaware of her beauty. She’s a bit quirky, a bit odd – a girl that unknowingly demands attention when she first enters a room, with her striking good looks and personal style. Meeting her for the first time, we were enamored with her doe-eyed angelic beauty, thick bob hairstyle and 60s/70s vintage style. Suddenly, Allie surprised her friends and instagram followers by shaving her head; and we’re not talking a Rosemary’s Baby pixie cut, but rather a full-on G.I. Jane shave down. But this just made us love her even more! However, there is much more to Allie than the aforementioned. She’s quite the talented musician, who happens to go by the name Foster James. Stumbling upon her Youtube videos, we became even more infatuated and fell under her sweet spell. With her soft dreamy voice and haunting, stylish videos, we fantasize that this is what the after life will be like. We know there’s more to come from Foster James – much, much more… https://www.instagram.com/fosterxjames/?hl=en
Photography Alexander Thompson. Stylist Maria Ayala. Hair/makeup Theo Kogan using Urban Decay Cosmetics. Vintage clothing courtesy Resurrection Vintage NY.
PONYBOY: Allie, we love your music. But let’s first talk about your background. Where are you from?
ALLIE CONCANNON: Oh, well thank you! I was born in Darien, Connecticut…it’s a small town about an hour outside of NYC.
PONYBOY: Tell us about your upbringing? Was it a creative one? Your brother James Concannon is an extremely talented and noteworthy artist.
ALLIE CONCANNON: Well, I had 4 siblings, and my mom was a foster mother, so we always had a lot of kids in the house growing up… it was busy and hectic, but filled with a lot of love. To be honest it wasn’t a very artistic upbringing, but my brother and I are both just kind of weird people who communicate best through art. Actually, all of my siblings are pretty artistic, which is funny because our upbringing was pretty conservative. Artistic or weird, I guess. haha. We didn’t fit in, in our town.
PONYBOY: How did you get into music?
ALLIE CONCANNON: I’ve always loved music for as long as I can remember. My mom said I sang before I talked. Music was what made the most sense to me as a kid. When I was little I really loved rap… Biggie, Tupac, NWA, etc. But I love all kinds of music. My first concert was Alicia Keys, loved TLC for a bit, Fiona Apple…anyone speaking their mind with music, I’m all for.
PONYBOY: When did you actually start recording songs?
ALLIE CONCANNON: I started recording about 6 years ago. It’s important to know that where you start is not where you will end up, and you won’t be good at the beginning. Learning any skill takes time and practice. You can’t be afraid to fail, you’ve just got to go for it, be humble and keep learning.
PONYBOY: You go under the name Foster James. Describe your sound to any of our readers who have never heard your sound before.
ALLIE CONCANNON: Ah! I hate that question. Because I feel like I’m still figuring that out and I probably always will be. I discover something new about music all the time and then want to incorporate that into what I make. But for genre purposes, I guess I’ll say indie pop.
PONYBOY: Of course we’re big fans of your partner, Sid Simmons, from Girl Skin/Beechwood fame. How did the two of you meet?
ALLIE CONCANNON: We met on instagram…hahaha. He’d been following me for a of couple years, but I didn’t know. I posted a video when Trump was elected of people protesting, to help others cope with what had just happened, and a Trump supporter was mean to me. Sid stuck up for me, and his instagram name was smellmyfeet, so… I was curious who that person was. I listened to his soundcloud and originally wanted to work with him. I went down in his DMs. But then we met later on, and the first thing I said to him when I shook his hand was, “I feel like I’ve known you my whole life”…seriously. Like out of a stupid movie, but it was true.
PONYBOY: That’s such a great story. Was it love at first site? The two of you are so damn cute together!
ALLIE CONCANNON: Yeah, definitely for me. Well, lust… love is a commitment that happens over time, through experiences and arguments and issues and continuing to choose someone regardless of what might challenge that. Because that person is the right person for you, they’re your other half, and they push you towards individual growth. He’s my life partner. I feel very grateful to have found him.
PONYBOY: You and Sid collaborate on music projects. Was Foster James formed after you met? Or was it something that you initially started yourself?
ALLIE CONCANNON: No, I’d been doing Foster James for a couple years before we met and had made my first EP before we met (never released it). We both love music individually, collaborating was just a nice way to fall in love.
PONYBOY: Do you write all of your own music? Play any instruments?
ALLIE CONCANNON: Yeah, well it’s different for every song, right? But on my new album, Homegrown, I collaborated with this producer Cameron Smithson, he’s really amazing, as well as with Sid. I play guitar, her name is “Gully”, and I’ve recently started engineering and mixing my own stuff too, which is really fun. Music is never ending in terms of skills to learn. You’re forever a student. That’s why I love it!
PONYBOY: Tell us about your creative process when making music? And what inspires your creativity in your music?
ALLIE CONCANNON: Each song really is so different. Sometimes it’s really easy. I wrote this song, “For Kyrie” that I’m releasing soon, in like 10 minutes, clapping in my roommate’s room along to a pretend beat in my head. But music is a way for us to communicate, right? So I find I, and probably a lot of artists, have the most to say when feeling passionate about something, whether it be positive or negative. I will say that for Homegrown, I’ve been influenced by the women’s movement a lot.
PONYBOY: Do you record at home or in a music studio? We love the Foster James sound.
ALLIE CONCANNON: In bedrooms! Whether it be Cam’s or my room. Honestly, I’ve worked in studios and I prefer a bedroom…being able to live with a song, go back to it whenever you want. Fancy studios don’t really make a huge difference; sometimes they can hinder the creative process, to me at least.
PONYBOY: Your most recent video for Foster James, A Cruel Joke, is fantastic. Tell us the concept behind it and the filming process.
ALLIE CONCANNON: Thank you! This video was so much fun to make. I reached out to the photographer, Jordan Tiberio, about doing a video together, and asked her if she thought it was possible to make the renaissance style portraits she had been taking into moving portraits with animation. We, along with my wonderfully talented friend Elliott Brakebill, put together a cast of different female artists in New York, pulled looks from The Break and Dusty Rose Vintage, and filmed in Jordan’s studio for a day. We mapped out how we’d need to film each girl for it to make sense within a photo album, how to have them interacting, etc. We didn’t realize how hard the animation would be for this though, and ended up going through a couple different animators before we found Giles Pates, who really pulled through and did some amazing work. I recently looked over our email chain for the video and we have over 130 emails between each other. Honestly, everyone was so committed and so hard working. And I’m so grateful, because I had the smallest budget ever that I myself had saved up. The amount of work everyone put in, it was really an incredible thing. I’m very grateful to everyone who worked on it.
PONYBOY: We fell in love with the Skin video. It’s so raw and innocent, both the song and the video. The chemistry between you and Sid really comes through when you watch it.
ALLIE CONCANNON: Well, thank you! We filmed that with my friend Nika De Carlo on super 8, and that’s what our intention was, so I’m glad you felt that. Sid and I used the same footage with different editing for our two songs Skin and Darling that we wrote about each other.
PONYBOY: The Girl Skin/Foster James video for Where Did Your Truth Go is hauntingly beautiful…just dreamy. We just can’t get enough. Please don’t stop making these videos! We have it on constant replay on Youtube. ha, ha!
ALLIE CONCANNON: Man, thanks, it’s nice to hear. Andy Deluca filmed that with us. He’s really wonderful.
PONYBOY: When we first met, you had a Super 8 camera attached to your hand the entire time. Tell us about your fascination with that. And are you still making Super 8’s?
ALLIE CONCANNON: Yeah, we met a while ago when you shot Sid’s band Girl Skin! I had offered to take behind the scenes footage for him with the super 8, just so he had more content of his band from the shoot. I just think super 8 has a certain nostalgic emotion that cannot be recreated with digital film. But it’s very expensive, with few locations that still do it. I haven’t been using it for these new videos. I think that time for me is done. But I do love it.
PONYBOY: We can’t not mention your incredible personal style, being Ponyboy. Let’s start with you chopping off that cute 60s bob a few months back. What brought that about? And by the way, we love your shaved head.
ALLIE CONCANNON: Haha, thanks. Honestly, Sid and I had bad cabin fever in the middle of the winter. We hadn’t left our house in a couple of days, and so we were bored. He cut it with our kitchen scissors, and continued to cut it most of the time while I had it, just out of us being cheap. haha. Yeah, I like fashion. It’s another way to communicate and express ourselves. Dressing up, creating a look, can be so much fun. But don’t get me wrong though, most days I couldn’t care less and will wear basically anything. Truly it’s a problem, my friends have yelled at me for going out in pajamas.
PONYBOY: Who are your dream clothing designers?
ALLIE CONCANNON: Hmm… I really like what Susie Cave is doing right now. I’m heading the marketing for a new clothing line called OMIN, designed by Kristine Barilli and Amber Doyle, that we’re going to release soon. And I love what they’ve made: silk dresses, smoking robes, kaftans, jumpsuits…amazing pieces. Working on branding that has been incredibly fun.
PONYBOY: At one point you were an agency fashion model in New York City. Tell us all about that experience. Did you fall into that or seek it out?
ALLIE CONCANNON: Yeah, when I first moved here. I kind of fell into it. I was working at a second hand thrift store, and shooting pieces on the street for them when ASAP Rocky and ASAP Ferg pulled over in a Hummer and asked me to be in Ferg’s music video that they were filming the next day called A Hundred Million Roses. They weren’t out yet. I had no idea who they were, and my brother made me take his girlfriend in case it wasn’t a real thing. haha. But it was, and when that got put out, I was signed to agencies and did that for a while. I really disliked it, though. Individuality wasn’t okay, they wanted the models to all look the same and dress the exact same. They weighed girls at my agency and told them to lose weight. It was pretty dark. I started using Instagram and learned that I could be my own agent and book things as an artist, work on projects that I believed in. So, I left and learned how to do the business side of things myself.
PONYBOY: Both you and Sid were recently featured in French Vogue, photographed by the legendary fashion duo Inez and Vinoodh. The photo is beautiful. What was it like shooting with them and their team?
ALLIE CONCANNON: Thank you! They are truly such a sweet, down to earth couple. I love them. We actually worked together because I messaged them on instagram. hahaha. I noticed they were following me, and I’m such a huge fan, so I told them that and said I’d love to be able to work with them! They asked Sid and I to shoot for Vogue Paris the next week! It was an amazing experience. They shot us in a wedding scene, and when we came out, they had our Lovemore EP playing as a surprise. I almost cried actually. It was really surreal.
PONYBOY: What are your thoughts on the music industry. So many things have changed with social media, etc. As a musician, do you yearn to be on a record label? Or do you feel that this is something that you can “wing” on your own?
ALLIE CONCANNON: Well, social media allows the artist to connect directly with their audience without a middle man. So, no, I don’t have any desire to change that. I’m very grateful for that platform. I’ve seen a lot of artists who may have been denied success, before social media had really blossomed.
PONYBOY: We have yet to see you perform on stage. Please tell our readers when we could catch a show, hopefully in the New York City area.
ALLIE CONCANNON: Haha, yeah, I stopped performing about a year ago. I don’t want to half ass it. I’ve been working, learning what I’m trying to say, and I only want to do a show when I’ve fully figured that out. I still don’t feel like my record is done, and it feels too early to think about how to present that.
PONYBOY: What’s in store for you personally, Allie, in the near future, as well as Foster James?
ALLIE CONCANNON: Working as much as possible! I still work a retail job 4 days a week to pay for my music. I want to work on music, videos, learning more guitar, recording, mixing and engineering, on putting OMIN out. I just want to, in 10 years, be able to say I did as much as I could. Maybe have a kid somewhere in there.